08 August 2007

Home Recordings #1

This marks the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series of posts sharing some "do it yourself" recordings of mine. To kick things off, I have a three tuba arrangement of some Beethoven piano music:

"Presto" from Op. 10, No. 2

It's a frequent topic of speculation among tubists what old Ludwig might have done with the tuba had he ever heard one. I'm not so sure this is it, but it's fun nonetheless. Even with a click track and unlimited chances to get things correct, I found this to be quite a challenge, and the end result is far from perfect. The tuba is, of course, a nightmare to record. It certainly was never intended to be miked this close and in such a dead room, but besides the fact that the sound tends to be more optimal several feet away, close miking also makes even the smallest mistakes stand out.

I don't claim superiority to anyone who has put out a "classical" tuba recording commercially, but the distant nature of the sound on many such records has always bothered me. I'd like to hear closer miking and a more "immediate" presence from the recorded tuba, and I'm trying to use projects like this as training for anything I might do in a "real" studio. If you can get a great sound right off the bell, you'll have a world-class sound in most any decent space. Some teachers advocate practicing outdoors this reason, and I think I may try that more often (although it's only available 6 months out of the year in MN).

As a side note, this is, in fact, a three-part arrangement. I cheated here and there in recording it, but I originally wrote it to be played in real time by three players, and I'm sure it's doable as such.

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